Deadline set for Andor's response to £174m takeover
The board of one of Northern Ireland's three companies on the stock exchange has until 5pm today to decide whether to accept a new takeover offer.
Oxford Instruments said it's now willing to pay 525 pence-a-share for the Belfast-based camera maker Andor – valuing it at £174m.
That's £15m more than the Oxford firm's original 500 pence-a-share offer – but Andor's board has stayed coy.
"The board of Andor confirms that it is considering the possible offer," it said in response.
"Andor shareholders should note that there can be no certainty that an offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made."
Oxford, however, has not given the impression that it will lift its offer price again and said this will be its final proposal.
It said one of the main Andor shareholders, Cazenove Capital Management, has indicated it will accept the 525p offer for its 10% of the company.
The Andor board is chaired by Colin Walsh who runs venture capital firm Crescent Capital, one of the main backers of Andor in its early days.
The board has to decide today whether to recommend Oxford's offer to shareholders.
Oxford Instruments made its initial 500p offer at the end of November which the board urged shareholders to reject, claiming it undervaled the company.
It had started discussions with the Belfast firm in July when the share price stood at 470p-a-share and has since carried out due diligence, something Andor believes should make it aware of how much value lies in the business.
"The board is disappointed that Oxford Instruments was not able to increase its offer in light of the time spent helping them to understand our prospects," Andor said following the original offer.
Andor makes high-end digital cameras for scientific use. It employs around 400 people globally with around half based in Northern Ireland.
It was set up in 1989 as a spin-off company by Queen's University in Belfast. The founders, in the QUB physics department, found cameras were inadequate for its demanding applications, so developed their own.